WACO - Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center will decommission the old hospital building on Herring Ave. this summer and put it up for sale, while moving its remaining operations to the new I-35 campus.
The 600,000-sf building, which houses rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, will be razed in three years if no buyer is found, said Glenn Robinson, president of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.
The hospital served as the hub of what was then known as Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center from 1920 until 2009, when the new campus was built.
In the meantime, a few buildings on the campus will be maintained for office space, and the 150 employees at the Herring Ave. campus will have job opportunities within the Hillcrest system.
Robinson said consolidating operations will save the medical center $2.5 million to $3 million a year in a time when hospitals need to be cutting costs because of declining reimbursement rates from Medicaid and Medicare.
If the building cannot find a buyer, the medical system will raze it in accordance with a long-standing agreement with the City of Waco.
Until then, the hospital system will continue to offer 24-hour security at the Herring Ave. campus.
City Manager Dale Fisseler said he doesn't think razing the building would harm the neighborhood, and it might open up space for parks or redevelopment.
Some of the smaller buildings on the campus will be retained, including Cenikor Foundation's drug rehabilitation facility and Rapoport Academy's elementary school.
Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest will maintain the Waco Medical Center and MacArthur medical clinic on the campus.
Robinson said the move this summer will cost about $800,000, including the cost of renovating part of the I-35 campus's underused pediatric wing to house the 20-bed rehabilitation center.
Robinson said other independent skilled nursing facilities are planned near the I-35 campus and will replace the work that the health system has offered.
The equipment at the Herring Ave. hospital building will be donated to a nonprofit group, Faith in Action, that does international medical aid work.